tv Hearing Focuses on Federal Agencies Inspectors General CSPAN February 4, 2017 4:12pm-6:23pm EST
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>> next, inspectors general from various federal agencies testify face. challenges they this house oversight and government reform hearing is hours.er two >> committee on oversight and come tont reform will order. without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess time. i thank everybody for being here, as we kick off the 115th congress. we're doing as we had done in the 114th congress, and having our first major full committee inspector inspectorsector general. we cannot thank you enough for do.great work that you in fact, we have a packed audience here. if you can indulge me here for a moment, we'll allow those that are testifying to stay seated.
of thatou're part inspector general community, or the inspector general, if you could please stand for a moment, i'd like to you.nize those of >> wow! >> very good. thank you. thank you. you. on behalf of all of us that serve here. service andr your your interests. and we want you to know how deeply valued you are, and the work that you do. my greater fears is that you do all this work and that we're not doing enough to make sure that we're paying attention we're actually acting on it. you know, we're not only the oversight committee but we're government reform committee. so we want to be able to take and good work that you do translate it into action that actually helps solve the you're not continuing to look at the same problem, year after year after
year. that should be such a flashing red light for this committee, and everything that they do. the inspectors general are embedded into the federal government to protect the tax taxpayers. nonpartisan, patriots to understand what's happening in of this large bureaucracy. the fiscal year 2015, it's estimated that the inspectors roughly $37d billion annually with just the $2.7 billion. that's a pretty good rate of return and a pretty good evidence that the money we spend in the inspector general worth theis certainly effort. again, this is the first committee. but -- or the first hearing. and as i kind of get into the toails of this, i want address something that did pop up in the news. there was a mistake that was
a junior member of the transition team left a message. not sure -- i know it was on at least one person's voice mail. on all ofow if it was your voice mail. aying that they're working on temporary basis. clarified by a more senior person that that is not the case. i think as inspector general will say, and i want to let you know i've spoken with the whitel council at house on this topic. i think it's safe to say that that was a mistake. it hadn't happened. it's not their approach, not their intention. said to -- as i mentioned in a committee hearing opportunity had an to visit with the president, when he visited us in philadelphia last week. was a very brief conversation. but he thanked me for the work we were doing on oversight.
go and dontinue to what you're gonna do, even though i'm the president. you need to keep looking at the federal government, the theaucracy, and i -- that's impression. but that's also literally what they have told me. mcgahn,poke with don the white house general counsel, he assured me that was not the case. i'm glad we got that clarified. all be concerned, on both sides of the aisle, if that was the approach they were taking. they shouldn't have done that. it was a junior person. to let me know if you're seeing or hearing anything to the contrary. been assured that that is not what they're doing. this was a mistake that also happened in the obama administration in 2009. mr. wallpin,fire
then the i.g. for the corporation of national and service. that firing came without the president giving the legally required notice to congress. only i.g. firing by a president in the last 35 years. mr. wallprin later sued, saying the firing was retaliation for undertook.ation he with each new administration, i'm sure there's a learning curve. hopefully they've learned that lesson. i also think it's very important for the vacancies that are there those are filled in a swift manner. now, we're not in total control of that here in the house. we get more frustrations coming out of the senate. and you can understand the large that have to go confirmation process from a supreme court to cabinet levels. i hope that's swift. i'm not in total control of that in the house. but i will do everything i can to encourage and push and say to
house and to this administration it is in their to have a vibrant inspector general community. people act best when they're having someone look over their shoulder. and it protects us all. it protects the taxpayers, protects the white house, protects congress, protects everybody. so we will take that approach. the year 2014, 47 inspectors letter to this committee and to the senate, homeland security and government detailingmmittee, significant access problems. for example, the peace corps inspector general is here with us. he was being denied access to files related to sexual assaults peace corps volunteers, by counsel. corps general denying access to files is have fought.
chairman issa fought it before me. will continue to fight as a committee. in another instance, the told thesafety board e.p.a. inspector general it would not provide documents attorney-client privilege, a new creative way to they didn't have to be open, transparent, allowing you access to the information you need. years, we worked closely with the ranking member to craft legislation to ensure inspectors general can do their job. i want to thank mr. cummings personally for his steadfast on these issues. i think we've worked well on them. the result of the cooperation was the i.g. empowerment act of was signed into law in december. it took a lot of lifting to get but not nearly the amount of lifting you've been doing and the frustration you've been bumping up against for so long. the bill made clear the can only beeneral specificcess based on
statutory privileges. in addition, the act streamlined investigation procedures, reporting new requirements to improve transparency and treem line the streamline the- investigation process to make operations more efficient. we will continue to support the inspectors general in the new congress, as these issues may arise again. carried over from the last congress that should be addressed, again, is the vacancies. as of 2015, the average duration vacancy, during the past administration, was 613 days. of the previous administration. that's unacceptable and we have to speed that up. i hope the new administration makes it a priority to fill vacancies, and we will push them to do so. finally, i'd like to hear from the process ofn criminal referrals by the inspectors general. i.g.'s do great work conducting investigations. culminatestheir work
to referral to the department of justice for possible prosecution. little transparency regarding the outcome of these referrals. i have beeny, peppering the department of suchce to provide us with stats but they simply have stonewalled us for years, during administration. the i.g. empowerment act attempts to increase the requiringcy by reports to congress on the referral data. if i know what is being referred directly to the department of justice, i then have a better fact pattern to push the to say,nt of justice why don't you ever prosecute these people? it's not good enough to say, well, just fire them. remedy, just fire them. but the civil service reform, we're going to go through in this congress, is so prohibitive on firing people, it's this vicious circle where the bad apples continue to sit in their seats, take income,
rest of theg the process, their fellow employees, the departments, the agencies ultimately the taxpayers. we'd like to hear more about the referral process and what can be done to better expose it. and we will do our part to push of justice or the local -- whatever the appropriate law enforcement is to actually -- or prosecutors to actually push on this. i, again, want to thank you all for the great work that you do. you represent literally thousands of people who spend their lives doing this. can't thank them enough. we appreciate you all attending today and we thank the witnesses in particular. with that, i'll now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings. >> thank you. calling this hearing. let me say to all of the stafftors general and the here today, i want to thank you. talking, irman was thought it would be appropriate that i share with you a question
over andcome to me, over and over again. is, when someon of these issues came up, people about the me inspectors general. they say, do you trust the inspectors general? and i say, yes. but the other question they ask well, if the inspectors general were replaced, how would you feel about that? all, the people who hold these positions are are independent. and if they felt that they could they wouldpendent, not take the positions. and so i would feel comfortable with our inspectors general -- and i want to thank you. words of the chairman. we trust you. believe in you. we thank you. we realize that so many of you be doing so many other jobs, probably making a lot more
money. but you are doing the job that feeds your souls. and so we thank you. you do an extraordinary job. we in congress rely on you reasons.ly these the title of today's hearing is inspector generals. our committee has acted in a under bothmanner, democratic and republican leadership, to promote the work of i.g.'s. for example, on december 16, 2016, president obama signed into law the bipartisan empowermentneral act of 2016. thater, one thing disempowers inspectors general are threatened, threatened with retaliation for reporting waste, fraud and abuse. or even worse, threatened with
termination. when that happens, it's up to this committee to step in, protect our and i.g.'s. yesterday i sent a letter, along thisvice ranking member of committee, mr. connolly, to the house, counsel mcgahn. i raised concerns about a disturbing report that trump officials threatened to remove numerous, numerous inspectors general after the inauguration. started on friday, january 13. signedeam officials have to various -- assigned to called federal agencies to inform their respective i.g.'s that their positions were quote, temporary. end of quote. they also reportedly informed they should's that begin looking for other employment. the inspectors general who were concerned about these ominous --
anonymous calls immediately began contacting leaders of organizing body, the council of inspectors general, efficiency. and as we understand it, after urgent calls all over the weekend, some i.g.'s were informed that higher-level the trump team decided to reverse this misguided action. the i.g.'s were told that these calls were erroneous. they were told they never should have been made. if this indeed occurred, that would be a small relief. here is why i remain concerned. say,now, a lot of people you know, we ought to cross that bridge when we get to it. aties and gentlemen, we're the bridge. we have now obtained what we that thes the e-mail trump team sent out to their
political officials assigned to the federal agencies. this e-mail was sent after normal business hours, on the friday, january 13. it directed trump staffers to the calls, and i quote tonight, end of quote. all capital letters and later in bold. they were instructed to tell the they were staying over to the trump administration aly, and i quote, on temporary basis, end of quote. the e-mail also references vetting the i.g.'s, but does not explain on what basis. this e-mail demonstrates that isolatedls were not incidents. these calls were not isolated incidents. coordinated campaign to target inspectors general trump teame in the planned, approved, organized and executed across multiple agencies. the problem is that we still do
not know who. whoever approved these calls had horrendous judgment and should not be allowed ofwhere near the reigns power. we also still do not know who ultimately reversed this terrible approach. and we still have no official communication confirming that this reversal in fact applies to all the i.g.'s. theesterday we wrote to white house counsel, asking him these questions. importantly, we asked for official confirmation that plans, notrump has no plans to fire any i.g.'s now sworn in.s been i asked unanimous consent that part of thee made official record. mr. chairman? >> the letter, without ordered., so but i would like to see the e-mail, which you've not shared believe.we don't >> we did share it, this
morning. the committeet staff conduct a tribed interview trump -- a transcribed interview of the trump official. we have several of the i.g.'s today, so we can get their accounts of what happened chght broadest level. we want to make sure that every inspector general has been told in no uncertain terms that their jobs are safe. unfortunately, these actions are part of a traveling pattern of politicallyd motivated attacks on government experts, lawhics enforcement officials, and career government employees. i said before, they say we should cross the bridge when we get to it. the bridge. in december, the trump team sent energy --naire to the listen to this. in december, the trump team sent to the energye department, requesting a list of
all individuals who took part in international climate talks over the past five years. bridge. the in january, white house chief of priebus, issued a veiled threat to the director of the office of government ethics that we, quote, ought to be careful, end of quote. in his criticism of president trump's refusal to divest himself of his corporate ownership interests, the director told members of this committee, including the that this threat made departmentnd his feel -- he said it was chilling. end of quote. just last week, trump officialstion violated multiple federal laws orders on theg communications of federal employees, including, in some instances, communications with congress. we're at the bridge. days, the past few white house press secretary
stated the trump administration's official that any state department employees who disagree with the president's leave theshould government rather than voice their dissent. we're at the bridge. and on monday, after the acting attorney general concluded that the president's executive order banning muslims from entering the country may not be legal, fired her for saying so. what we are witnessing, ladies and gentlemen, simply is not normal. not normal. and we must never let it become normal. united states of america. we have a constitution. guardians ofe the that constitution. and as i close, this is only -- has only been a few weeks. these actions cannot be us whoed by those of rootingour core mission out waste, fraud and abuse. this should be something that concerns all of us.
employees fear what is happening and what may be next to come. we will rely on our inspector ever.ls more now than there was just an article in the washington post this morning, i think it was, that talked about employees who are now going to inspector generals, because they are afraid. and so your jobs become very, very, very significant, even significant than they've ever been, because people see you as the last line of defense. and i hope that all of my republican and democratic inleagues will join together a bipartisan manner to support our inspector generals in their mission. this. say i thank the chairman, because he has been one of the strongest folks on this committee to make it clear that we will protect whistle-blowers, that we will protect federal employees, that we will protect those who want make our government the best
that it can be. he's also been a strong advocate for marching forward to make our all of us make this great nation a more perfect join. with that -- a more perfect union. with that, i yield back. >> mr. chairman, point of ininquiry. i'm looking at the redacted version of this e-mail. some of the redactions, we'd to know more about, such as who besides the author it was to whoopied to and of course it was sent to. is there an unredacted version of this, to your knowledge? or maybe to the minority leader? towe'll work with our staff figure that out. >> i would appreciate being able to see it in camera. try tod be helpful as we correct this. >> let's move on. record open for five legislative days for any members who would like to submit a written statement. now recognize our panel of witnesses. the honorable michael horowitz, chair of the counsel, the
inspectors general, and the inspector general for the united states department of justice. we have worked closely with mr. horowitz through the years andwe enjoy his perspective professionalism and what he does. we appreciate you being here. honorable kathy butler, who is the executive chair of the legislation committee, on the council of inspectors general on thegrity and efficiency and inspector general at the peace corps, who testified here as well. appreciate you being here. the honorable scott dahl, inspector general of the united states department of labor. as john roth, who has also testified a number of times before this committee. pursuant to committee rules, all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. raise'll please rise and your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm abouthe testimony you're to give will be the truth t whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you. let the record reflect that all the witnesses answered in the
affirmative. you know the drill. to explain the rules. when you see the yellow button, up.d and when you get to a stoplight, need to do too. we'll give you great latitude. mr. horowitz, you're now recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for inviting me to testify today. the i.g. community sincerely appreciates this committee's support over the years. and thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member cummings, congressman meadows, for your i.g.orship of the landmark empowerment act and for the committee's unyielding work in passed.ure it got congress could not have spoken itser or clear sh about bipartisan support for giving i.g.'s the tools we need to do oversight work. i.g.'s are the representatives
of the taxpayers, making sure is being used efficiently and effectively and are waste, fraud, abuse rooted out. the independence of i.g.'s is the foundation of our work, us to conduct nonpartisan, objective oversight. work, in f.y. 2015, as the chairman noted, resulted in the i.g. community identifying approximately $26 billion in whichial savings with agency management agreed and additionally our criminal and cases identifying or allowing agencies to receive or $10 billion. compared to the i.g. community's budget of about $2.7 billion, the recoveries and potential savings represent $14 return on every $1 invested in the oig's by the congress. they also issue recommendations to address fundamental issues of agency management identified in
reviews.s and our we appreciate the committee's interest in these recommendations, and as you are are indeede thousands of open the oigdations across community. we look forward to working with administration to address them. let me briefly highlight other key issues for the committee. there are numerous i.g. vacancies and it is critical they be filled promptly. nine of 36 presidentially senate-confirmed i.g. positions are vacant. that's 25% of those positions. the vacancies are at some of our largest agencies. law, i.g.'s must be selected without regard to political affiliation and based solely on of their integrity and demonstrated ability in certain proficiencies. act, the council of i.g.'s is possible for withmending candidates exemplary qualifications for
positions. we look forward to continuing to fulfill this role with the new makesstration and hope it filling i.g. vacancies a variety. a -- vacancies important. we fully appreciate and respect the importance of prudently allocating federal resources. our track record of returning to the treasury far more money than we are budgeted, belief careful consideration should be given before impacting our ability to root out waste, and abuse. oig's were hit particularly hard during sequestration and it had significant impact on our work. we look forward to working with director on these issues. abouty, i want to talk whistle-blowers. whistle-blowers perform an invaluable service when they come forward with evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement, and they never
should suffer reprisal for doing so. with criticalig's information. we want to make sure they are comfortable doing so. council of i.g.'s, we've created a whistle-blowers group to working consider best practices to help us better address the wide range related to whistle-blowers. in my office, we're dedicating ever-increasing resources to our substantially increasing docket of whistle-blower retaliation involving f.b.i. employees, and employees of contractors and grant recipients. however, our ability to fulfill the ability responsibilities that recent legislation has placed on us, and which we welcomed, requires sufficient staffing. otherwise, it will be difficult for us to maintain and continue our other oversight work as our whistle-blower retaliation continues to grow. we look forward to working with the committee, with the incoming
the bipartisan house and senate whistle-blower thesees to address whistle-blower issues. thank you again for the committee's strong support and i'd be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have. >> thank you. ms. ballard? bueller, but that's just because i watch that show so many times. for fivew recognized minutes. >> chairman, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to discuss the important work of i.g.'s. as chair of the legislation the council of inspectors general for integrity and efficiency, and as one of i.g.'s whose access was denied by the agency i oversee, underscores our appreciation for the bipartisan support we receive from this committee and from congress. two years ago, i testified about thes committee struggles my office faced in
obtaining the information we needed to do our job. former general council of the peace corps erroneously interpreted a law in a way that effectively kept my office, congress and the american public in the dark about critical information regarding care provided to peace corps volunteers who experienced sexual assault. was not alone. starting in 2010, other agencies denying or delaying access to information, including the departments of justice, commerce treasury, as well as the safety and hazard investigation board. councilce of legal issued a legal opinion that challenged the access that is central to i.g. oversight. it was clear that congressional action was needed. part to the bipartisan efforts of this committee and the passage of the inspector general empowerment act restores what congress that i.g.'s have the right to access all materials and documents necessary to
oversee their agencies. we haveeace corps, begun unwinding the damage cause by the access-denying policies. the agencying with to fully restore access to the records we need to ensure that have corps volunteers who been sexually assaulted receive the care that they deserve. the i.g. empowerment act not only restored the i.g.'s right unfettered access but it also provided tools to ensure our independence and improve our authority. in particular, exemptions from the computer matching the act will ensure i.g. independence and will help us more and detect prevent fraud and conduct timely surveys, without being subject our agenciesal of we oversee. in short, your bipartisan empoweredr i.g.'s has inspectors general across the federal government. role as chair of the committee -- i
liaison with members of congress. one role of our committee is to provide assistance to congress ability toi.g.'s' carry out the oversight mission that taxpayers and congress expect. mention four priority items that the i.g. community has identified that would overseeour ability to the federal government. first, our community would like to work with congress to protect information that can be used to exploit cyber security vullabilities. our reviews identify weaknesses in federal systems. this information could be a road map for those who want to do harm. classifiene classified and law enforcement information is singleed, there is no protection that covers all i.t. security vulnerability information. second, the i.g. community recommends that i.g.'s have the authority to compel testimony of those subject to our oversight. this authority was included in a passed this committee and the house during the last
congress. substantiallye hampered by the inability to compel the testimony of witnesses who have information obtained by other means. while this authority was not becamed in the bill that law, we are encouraged by this committee's continued bipartisanon and support for testimonial subpoena authority for i.g.'s. third, removal of i.g.'s requires congressional notification, at least 30 days removal, providing a crucial safeguard to protect our independence. this safeguard can be defeated placed in a paid or unpaid nonduty status. i.g. community supports additional legislative protections to i.g. independence personnelthat such actions involving on i.g. are not abused. finally, legislative reforms the potential to make program broad civil remedies act
a significant tool. this act allows for recoveries in cases of small dollar fraud cases the oj does not accept for prosecution. recoveries could be significant. communitye, the i.g. is grateful for the steadfast bipartisan support it has received from congress and from committee. we look forward to our future cooperation to ensure integrity efficiency in the federal government. i'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> thank you. mr. dahl, you're not recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman chaffetz, ranking members cummings and members of the committee. for inviting me to testify today on the work of oig's. begin by highlighting a stark example of the value of our work and the importance of oig access to the information we need. in 2015, two students were killed at different department
of labor job corps centers, both allegedly by their fellow students. student was shot and killed in his dorm room at the st. louis center. studentther case, the was brutally killed next to the florida homestead center, resulting in the need to 350sfer, relocate more than students. these tragic cases, and other serious incidents, make clear identified the safety and security at job corps centers as the top management the department. our auditors had previously data thatob corps revealed some centers had failed to report and investigate misconduct, including assaults, and drug abuse. review has identified additional concerns, problems with the centers interacting with law
camerament, inadequate monitoring and security staffing, and very limited use of employee background checks. mr. chairman, this is just one examples that show the workficant impact from the of oig staff who demonstrate dedication to the oig mission of promoting efficiency and effectiveness in programs and of combating fraud, waste and abuse. appreciations our as michael and kathy have for strong support of the efforts of all oig's and for addressing the barriers that exist in our work. in that vein, we commend the committee's bipartisan efforts of the i.g.passage empowerment act. we're pleased that congress has reaffirmed the authority of oig's to have unfettered access
to records. this access is essential to our work. mr. chairman, another example of the value of oig oversight is in work on the abuse and rising costs of compounded drug the federal in employees compensation act. compounded drugs, have skyrocketed from 2011ximately $2 million in to $240 in 2016, more than 100-fold increase, surpassing the cost of all other drugs combined. our current investigations have focused on fraud schemes involving collusion between prescribing physicians and dispensing pharmacies. in one case alone, the oig special agents have identified a fraud that involves nearly $100 million. we are also conducting a review the department's management itsharmaceuticals in all of
workers' compensation program, onh a particular emphasis compounded drugs as well as the use of opioids. is collaborating with i.g.'s of other agencies who have faced similar problems with compounded drugs to identify potential fraud and how we can programs. another area of significant concern is with the fraud in dol's labor certification programs. h1b programr, the that allows for nonimmigrant workers inof foreign specialized occupations. investigating schemes, like owners of a new york health care staff company that pled guilty to fraudulently using the program to staff medical centers with foreign nurses. deprive u.s. workers of available work opportunities.
d.o.j. partnered with and other law enforcement agencies to investigate labor trafficking as part of human trafficking. example, our agents investigated a texas employer who was convicted last year for underpaying foreign workers and housing them in dangerous conditions. mr. chairman, timely access to the department's data systems is an area of significant concern for my office, especially for systems managed by contractors. encountered lengthy delays in gaining access to these data department has incurred significant increased outsourcing this data management. these challenges we have identified underscore the of the committee's support for the work of the oig's. to continuingd our productive relationship with this committee and the kept in improving goal of efficiency and effectiveness in the department's programs and operations. my full statement be entered in the record. i would be pleased to answer any
ofstions that you or members the committee have. >> thank you. statements,full written statements, will be entered into the record, of course. the inspector general for the department of homeland security, recognizedou're now for five minutes. >> thank you. chairman chaffetz, members of the committee, thank you for me here to testify about inspector general and recent legislative changes enacted. government agency, no matter how dysfunctional, will change of its own accord. tenure as inspector general for dhs, i witnessed agencies, fema, t.s.a. and the secret service that had to necessity of a change in the manner in which they do business. that a wrenching process no agency would undergo voluntarily. it happens as a result of three things, a dramatic intervening
event, followed by intense operations,agency and resultant leadership change.nt to independent oversight is critical and necessary positive, to constructive change. for example, fema's approach to response changed only katrina revealed the shortfall in its operations. the administration in fema leadership committed to change the manner in which fema events.d to these as we saw in the superstorm sandy response, fema has improved its response operations as a result. t.s.a. was likely confronted need to change as a result of dramatic and troubling discovered by our covert testing program as well as other reports about deficiencies in t.s.a.'s judgment of risk in relation to extradited screening, vetting employees, and managing the access badge program.
it was only through i.g. oversight, oversight by this and other committees, and t.s.a.'s stronglyrship embracing the message that t.s.a. at last publicly acknowledged the need for change started the long road to becoming a more effective organization. finally, as this committee well knows, the well-publicized failures by the secret service, resulted in hearings and investigations by this committee, by my office and protectivependent mission panel. this oversight resulted in an process ofhaiting examination and by noxamination, which is means over, about the manner in which the secret service does business. as a result, the secret service taken steps to fix some to have systemic issues that have plagued the agency over time. oversight makes the government fasters positive change. the critical and skeptical review of programs and theations acts as
disenfectant to ensure more efficient government. i thank the committee for its leadership and championing the i.g. empowerment act, its i.g. community and the cause of vigorous and independent oversight. a moment to take thank my staff. i am proud to lead in this effort. my office will continue to conduct independent oversight dhs's programs and operations. the department continues to face longstanding, persistent challenges in overseeing and managing its homeland security mission. these challenges effect every aspect of the mission, from andenting terrorism protecting our borders, transportation systems, to enforcing our immigration laws, ensuring disaster resiliency and space.g cyber the department is continually tested to achieve its complex
mission. key to sustaining the gains made is a leadership commitment by the new administration and thoughtful but vigorous oversight by the congress and my office. mr. chairman, this concludes my testimony. i'm happy to any questions of other members of the committee. >> thank you. i'll recognize myself for five minutes. mr. horowitz, let me start with you. the testimonial subpoena authority was something that we helped to champion. make it into the bill, and why didn't it make it into the bill? >> it did not make it into the bill, unfortunately, despite tremendous efforts of yourself and the ranking member in pushing it. my understanding was the department of justice continued to opt to the very end. to get the bill passed through the senate, it had to be removed. look forward to working with you again and we away from the fight easily.
>> and at least personally, i am going to help champion this. itll make another run at again. but i do believe the inspectors general need the ability to compel testimony. a frustrating case where somebody was being approached and then they just, like on a paper, said i hereby resign and handed it to somebody. thought by leaving the employment of the federal government, they could just thisy walk away from all disaster that they had caused. inspectorse that the general need to have the ability to compel testimony, particularly for those investigations that you're doing. do any of the others wish to shed any light? shed anyitz, can you light or any personal experiences within your purview illuminate this problem further? >> i'll just mention the two are public in our reports that are of significant
our review of the f.b.i.'s handling of 702, a high-ranking f.b.i. official that refused to cooperate with us because he had retired. and it would have been an important interview to have in connection with our review of the president's surveillance in the 2005-6 time period, the former attorney former deputye aag refused to speak with us because they also had left. givehere are -- i could you innumerable examples where we do our administrative work and have similar situations that you've just referred to mr. chairman, which is resignations on the eve of thenmony and our inability to get the evidence we need. >> yes. peace corps perspective, our employees are term-limited. so after five years, they time
out. and so if we want to speak with that period of time, they're no longer a government employee. it makes our job a lot more difficult. >> very good. really do appreciate you bringing out the idea of whistle-blowers. ater this afternoon, we have hearing specifically on whistle-blowers. they do need to have unimpeded access to communicate, not only with the inspectors general but also members of congress. take that very, very seriously. to just, in the last minute and a half that i have here, one of the things we're deeply concerned about -- we heard testimony throughout the aboutouple of years sexual misconduct, sexual degrees ofe varying table of penalties. one of the more stark examples i the to use is within department of justice, because if you look at the department, even within the department of have different tables of penalties, different
definitions. i think that is a congressional this committee. and something we do plan to address. if you can illuminate or shed any light on challenges or things that you've seen that you would think that we should address as we try to deal >> as we try to deal with this problem in making sure we get rid of these bad apples. . does anyone have an example they can shut some light on? go ahead. as the committee is -- >> as the committee is obviously aware, we found these wide-ranging different uses of the penalties, the terminology. we are about to go forward with the report about have the civil these issues,es
and they will show a unique reproach, a different approach by another component of the justice department. i think one of the things that important ast -- sexual harassment become something that needs to be addressed forcefully and clearly is coordinated, high-level approaches. it can't be decentralized in the nation's it cannot be left to 30+ components in the justice system then decide what way they are going to do that. leadership come from -- comes from zero tolerance. if they are putting up that policy, they need to drive that throughout the organization need away. >> thank you very much. thank you all for being poor -- here. that wants me to pay super attention, when you raise the
issue about the [indiscernible] anyout getting into confidential information you cannot disclose, i would like to talk to about that. that is a serious problem. you may not know it, but i had a nephew who was brutally killed about five years ago. shot to death at norfolk. i would like to talk to about i know corps, because young people who are going into the job corps and i want them to be safe. another thing is the compounded drugs. five years now, bernie sanders i and others have been working on thehigh price of drugs and fraud schemes. i didn't even know you all got into that stuff. but i would like to follow-up on that. theroth, we understand that number of inspector general's
received phone calls from trump officials on friday. spoke directly with them all other received voicemails, but the others were the same. the jobs were temporary. you received when of these phone calls. can you tell us, specifically, who called you? do you know? i got a call from the dhs transition team about 7:15 that friday night. >> can you tell us what that person said? what is along the lines of you summarize, which is i would be allowed to stay through the change in administration, but that would be temporary and he's assumed i was already in the process of looking for another job >>. -- job. >> and did they give any other concerns about your performance? >> no, they did not.
and what else? by then be removed president's time coming given 30 days notice. >> i was -- what was your reaction? >> i was surprised. inspector general's are not normally removed in such a way. i pulled michael horvitz out of a hockey game to tell him. >> was he playing? [laughter] >> no, it was a capitals game. >> we have a voicemail from inspector general. it says i am calling on behalf of the presidential transition team to tell you you are being held over on a temporary basis until the end of the inauguration. that is also consistent.
mr. horwitz, you are the head of , in [indiscernible] is that correct? >> yes. i got the call when i was sitting at the hockey game, i spoke to mr. roth, and then got word of two other ig's who had received received a call that evening. what they had heard. we arranged a call for saturday the igeveral of us in community, including the three that got called, several additional individuals as well. we wanted to try and understand who got calls, who didn't get
calls, in part because all three ids are ordered that they were alls were told that ids would be getting the calls. but all ids have not got the calls. we were trying to figure out what was going on here, and the three individuals who got the core information as well as other information from the dialogue back and forth, so what we tried to do that weekend -- the holiday weekend, martin luther king holiday weekend, we set about trying to figure out how we could reach out to transition officials to understand what was going on, given the calls three people got, the fact that the message would get the call igs gotig -- not all
the call. >> was everyone concerned? >> everyone close -- was concerned in terms of not knowing the message here. is this a message of planning to move on? was it a misunderstanding? we didn't know enough. happen -- to the to the chairs indulgence, over the next few days. >> i learned a lot more tuesday when we came back to work. tuesday morning was the monthly ig meeting. we got together at 10:00 a.m. on tuesday morning. knewn't talk about what i over the weekend until i got to tuesday. until monday, we learned of only the three calls. we reached out through the
various contacts we each had on the call to people we thought could try and connect us to to theeople to get us truck transition team. we did not have any clear line into any higher-level trump transition folks. we had contact the agency level transition teams, but we were looking to go beyond that. >> how many igs got the calls macro -- calls? meeting, i don't have an exact number, but i am guessing it is upwards of 6-10? you survey the information and get that back to us, if you don't mind? >> sure. want to say, it seems like the decision was overruled from higher-level officials in the trump team.
what were you told? monday, i believe it was, on this back from staff committee that they have heard through their contacts with the transition team were there contacts and senate, the homeland affairs -- security werers committee contacts saying that the calls should not have been made, it was a decision that should have been made at a higher level. the ids that got calls would be getting calls to let them know be keeping their jobs. >> do you have been writing? >> no. >> we need to get that for you
in writing. >> we also got a call from mr. the federalone in election. provided this woman with the same message that i have heard on monday from the majority staff. i then got a call this past friday from mr. mcgann, consistent with what he had told fec, that he would be reaching out to me to essentially say the same thing onme that he had told her that martin luther king holiday. we need to get the igs something in writing, because that is important. when it comes to people's jobs, families, author, and most importantly, their morale and security, ite --
is up where they have a document saying that is the case. thank you john, i really appreciate it. recognize the gentleman from texas. >> i would like to shift a little bit of dollars and cents questions here. mr. rob, i know in your statement to draw attention to the wistfulness in acquisition programs. we here in congress all the time how government spends more money than it should acquiring things. it takes longer to deploy and delivers less capability than promised. you can look into the apartment -- the department of homeland security, and warehouses full of equipment that doesn't work, doesn't get deployed, or both. what are you doing to reduce waste and acquisition? ?
>> one thing we are doing is increased emphasis on acquisition reform and auditing. that is one thing we did not have the capability of three years ago, and thanks to congress for creating additional funds for more ftes, we were able to focus on the issue more than we had before. that is one aspect of what we are doing. the other aspect is to ensure putslation that will guidelines in place for the department of homeland security as to their major acquisitions, what they have to do, increase reporting to the ig as well as to congress. really, our emphasis is on further auditing of these programs, including what we call life cycle auditing. that is we do not wait until the and saying well, you wasted $1 billion on an acquisition. we go in while the requirements
are being developed, and during the worst of the acquisition, we ensure that it is on track -- course of the acquisition, we ensure that it is on track. >> you're talking about billions of dollars. and you are still using a paper , and homeland security one of the more tech savvy agencies in the government. we see the same thing with the i i.t. system in the v.a.. what is the big some link on the government to use computers that every corporation and small business and middle school student is able to do? >> a couple of things. besides its complexity of these projects are enormous, so when you are talking about the immigrations system, these are literally millions and millions of files.
operational tempo is a norm is. artistsin artists -- in -- enormous. have airlines, credit card companies, exxon mobil, a global operation with a reasonable i.t. system, but the government can't do a? -- it? a one, there was never structure in place to the acquisitions correctly. two, getting the expertise and getting the personnel to do the acquisition has been a challenge. and thirdly, the acquisition process of health and the government is incredibly burdensome. >> mr. chairman, we will continue looking into how we will reformat. -- reformorm that that. i don't think any of you have
similar budget issues, but is anyone else seeing similar budget issues -- similar things? >> we do not have nowhere near the contracting dhs does, but we are seeing challenges at doj, we saw it the fbi when we looked at their effort to move to a computer-based system for handling all their paperwork. >> peace corps? >> the peace corps does not have a large acquisition program, but the contracting function has always been on dust a problem. mentas been a manage challenge for the past couple of years. turnover rate, so that is more of a problem. horwitz, we'rer. finding problems with the contracting and the processes they are using an approach as
they are using, and we issued an audit that we provided to this committee last year on using time and materials contract -- long past its time and necessity. about out of time. mr. horwitz, i encourage you to work within your organization. what is most helpful to us in congress is some concrete recommendations of what to fix. i would like you to put that on your whiteboard of things to do. >> absolutely, we will get you some. chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, ms. maloney. >> thank you mr. chairman. i would like to thank all the panels for all of their hard work. and really to build on what blake farenthold was saying -- recently, the--
president came out with a hiring freeze, and there is no time limit on it. i wondering how it will impact your ability to do your job, particularly when reports show that your jobs actually saved the taxpayers money. a report was released to the provided in 2015 that impressive cost of things that savings from the work of ids. for every dollar invested, the government had a potential saving of $14. that is an incredible rate of return on investment, and i think that shows that freezing the department is really going to harm taxpayers.
in 2015, the report explained that the federal government approximatelyof $2.7 billion on offices of igs, and those investments saved our government approximately $35 billion. these are impressive numbers. does anyone else want to comment on how the ideas have saved s have saved money? and what is this hiring freeze going to be like you currently have any post that are vacant that are not filled? was the impact of this? nineere are nine impact -- 36 presidential
appointed ig positions are vacant. and then the architect of the capital position, a congressional position, is victim. there are 12 total vacancies in the i.t. community. -- ig community. the hiring freeze is a huge and -- concern of ours. we were pleased yesterday to see the guidance issued by opm on the hiring freeze in the sense areechnology that igs agency heads for evaluating the exemptions, but that does not solve the problem entirely. we are looking forward to incoming ombthe director, the head of opium, and congress as we go through the -- opm, and congress as we
go through this. means that theff waste, fraud, and abuse we root out regularly will be impacted. thes there anywhere that waste, fraud, and abuse is laid out to what we have -- >> there is. >> i would like to see that. and i would like to suggest to my colleagues that we can do a two-tiered approach to the hiring freeze, that if the area is saving- the government money like the should give those
priority. were thought all igs treated the same. they are not? the 73 are nominated by the president and have to be confirmed by the president. 37 are appointed by their agency heads. >> is a tied to the agency? >> is it -- it is tied for the agency. >> i would like to see that list. i think the committee would like to see which one or not. my time has expired and i thank you very much for what you do for our country. i look peace corps. -- love the peace corps. >> the chernow recognizes mr. desantis. >> welcome. mr. horwitz, i know you have opened up enough instigation --
an investigation into the fbi's email case. are you going to look into aspects of the case like a grand jury was never impaneled? >> we have announced that, and one thing i want to make clear is that it not only covers what the fbi did, but what the department did as well. >> i know there have been concerns on all sides by a grand jury was never in panels, via mutual -- impaneled, the unusual s.tual agreement the infamous airport meeting and -- all that could be intentionally looked at? >> correct. >> i think it was reported that you were only trying to the fbi, and i think there are legitimate questions on all sides, and i
find really going to focus on one thing so that is good. roth, you have been very upfront about working out some of the bribery and corruption in the agency, particularly in regards to immigration and purity. article i came out at the end of last year. that will be a big focus on the administration to secure the southern border. is there any update? is there still a persistent problem? is there anything we can do to address it today? we tried to get this policy right, but if there is problems with instrumentation -- implication, it will undermine everything we are doing. >> this is hard when you have a mexican cartel on the southwest border width of resources and creativity that they have. certainly, the front-line defense is always going to be vulnerable.
there has to be watchful this by the agency itself -- watchfulness by the agency itself, by cbp as well as us, to oversee the overseers. we are candidly challenged by resources. we have one agent for every 2000 2000 employees. >> so more resources could potentially save the taxpayer under a -- more amounts of resources on the back end? >> these guys have the literal keys to the kingdom, the keys to the game on the southwest border. >> i understand. i don't want to get into a situation where he put in a lot of effort and are being undermined. >> i think this place has the
seventh highest amount of for 2015.payments for 2016 it was 144 billion, i believe. 2015, i have 136.7 billion. in 2004, the cumulative amount of improper payments has been over $1 trillion. you?at accurate to >> yes. --what tools could prompt congress provide to prevent these? they happen, but this is -- they haven't been this is real serious money. do you have any recommendations for us? >> certainly. one of the tools that we needed, you provided to us in the ig
empowerment act, and that is computerom the matching act that now allows us to take data in one agency and match it against data and another agent the to provide investigative leads and to program in best -- integrity leads to the department. yet?ve you seen results >> we just got the authority, so we are exploding -- exploring avenues to do that. i know others are as well. i think that will assist us. us, i improper payment, the level of improper payments has remained the same for years. we have done audits and multiple investigations, think sometimes the program .ixes are what is necessary
some of the vulnerabilities in the programs need to be patched. we have made recommendations in the department to fix those. i think with help from congress -- need -- do they legislation or help from agencies? >> both. >> while people posted and let us know if they are not taking action -- well, keep us posted. >> i want to recognize myself personi go to the next on the topics of improper payments. i think 60 billion of that in -- $60 billionas was to hospitals for medical or.
are you looking into that? >> that is a primary mission that they have, and they are working on that. dan levinson, the ig just, just ande about that recently the effort he is making to be down those numbers. that is the primary driver for the improper payments. billion are another 17 related to medicaid. are you looking into that? >> his office is looking into that and spending a considerable amount of time on that issues. >> the chernow recognizes mr. lynch. -- chair now recognizes mr. lynch. >> i wanted to thank you for the work that you do and the people behind you for what they do. we obtained any mail from the trump team ordering their officials to make run calls to assign agents ease telling them
igto make calls to the agencies telling them that their jobs were temporary. -- email wasaths sent from someone on the presidential transition team, and is to "transition team leads." do you know who believes are? -- the leads are? it is the agency team leads. the subject line also >> the subject line also quotes tonight. on subject line "tonight" in capital letters.
"thank you for getting us the [applause] information earlier today so that we could vet. as a critical follow-up to that, could you please reach out ht is inand, tonigh i they and inform the i.g.'s are being held over on a temporary basis. please laveave a message if youo not reach them. has anyone else seen the female before, anybody? has anyone else seen this email before, anybody? >> i did, after-the-fact. >> i didn't see it. horowitz, if this email is accurate, this is not junior rogue employee working out of a sub office. this is really, a very methodical, that 6-10 i.g.'s got
the call, that this thing went out and then there is another process in retraction. do you agree? know what it i says here in the calls that went out and then got -- >> do you have any idea what the urgency was? mr. horowitz: i was not one, by the way who got a call. >> mr. roth, do you have any idea what the urgency was? >mr. roth: i do not. i asked for the team lead for dhs why this was happening and he said he was passing on a message she had gotten from the higher ups. >> the email mentions vetting the i.g.'s. any idea what that would require? out of the i.g. statute you are required to have certain skills -- accounting, legal. background. any idea what the vetting might require? m.r. roth: no idea.
>> look, let me get back to what mr. cummings talked about earlier. we had a pattern of conduct on the part of the new administration. first they try to eliminate the ethics office. ag order on federal employees, hiring freeze on employees. energy department personnel, they want to do an inquisition on any but he who uses science. and there is this ban on all muslims. now it has been backed off to a few countries, but even u.s. citizens who are muslims and people who are here legally also fell under that. and after the fact, they go back. but the problem is it has this chilling effect. i know that each of you, and look, you have all been up her before. you're frequent flyers to this committee. we have seen your work.
you do a great job. madison anden mr. mr. hamilton set up his government they put in checks and balances so one person could not screw it all up. we are going to test that system over the next four years. we need you -- a lot of people and the audience say, you each ticket oath of office. the ticket owes to uphold the constitution. we need you to do your jobs. your jobs, not just when it is easy but when there is somebody pushing against you that might want something else. so, we just ask you, do your jobs, do your jobs, uphold the constitution, and we'll get through this. i yield back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california for five minutes. >> thank you. see youwitz, good to
again. i never had any doubt you would be held over. let me go through this, and first, i want to say that i am concerned that the transition team now defunk certainly could have done a better job in informing people who are technically serve at the pleasure of the president that they were going to be retained. there's plenty of examples of people who got almost to inauguration day and kept saying, do i leave or do i stay? and many of them wanted to stay and the administration wanted to keep. but i want to be very crucial in getting to the bottom of this, because it's been alleged that this was done to have some sort of a chilllining effect. i want to go through a couple of questions and anyone else can pipe in. i've googled this individual, a junior person with nothing to
show anything other than linkedin and. facebook. can't find of this is a high-ranking person. do you have an opinion whether this was somebody who was going to have a major position of authority or someone just setting this? mr. horowitz: i have no idea who the person is. >> i only know what google tells me in this case. it appears as though this is somebody, quite friendly, who was put on the transition team like hundreds of other people. the date on this is january 13, 2017. is it fair to say this person had no authority at that time because no one in the transition team had any authority until january 20th legally? gain, part of a the issue we had on that friday night and saturday over the weekend was trying to figure out who it wasasn and from because clearly there are those giving you the message,
you are staying or going. we did not know what this message was. 's were there any i.g. terminated on january 20th? mr. horowitz: no. >> so 100% were permanent and retained. that is all tradition. it is not common for mass dismissals. mr. horowitz: it is not happened in the last four transitions. standpoint, iton was business as usual, but technically, there was a question of wood you are would you not be held over, is that correct? mr. horowitz: because of these not want toin, was get them so i defer to others. all of you receive confirmation other than this that you would be retained? >> no. >> so, how did you come to work the next day, january 21st, the monday? you just showed up. ok. you know, again, i want to say
we are not going to let this sit. i do want to know the one challenge we half think is the transition team is now defunct, and we're really looking toward the future. to that future, have any of you begun working with new political appointees yet to try to listen whether they are going to support the continued work of the i.g. and perhaps even greater? you have a boss. mr. roth: i do have a boss. i met with secretary kelly on that thursday of the first week. and he announced his firm support of the i.g. concept,. >> when he was at central command, he had a long history of using his i.g.'s. he appreciates the value we add. ok. we obviously do not have a new attorney general. >> some new leadership positions in the office of attorney
general, deputy attorney general. and i did meet with them last friday. and engage with them on some of the issues that were pending in some of the matters they will likely be seeing soon from us. >> ok, and just for the record and not just for you but for all of your colleagues, certainly, i would hope that every i.g. would feel very free to contact any member of this committee, including the chairman should there be anything that would resemble interference or inability to do the job. i have one final closing question. since the and limitation the act of last year is fairly new, do any of you have current examples where you are still not getting information covere byd by the -- you get everything except in the exceptions are supposed to be virtually zero? horowitz, u.s. head of history of being blocked,
toticularly ask yo-- as attorneys at department of justice. mr. horowitz: there has been a significant change in approach. >> excellent. glad to hear it. >> at peace corps before the former director left, she put out a joint communication with me basically saying that we have access to everything now. >> especially the assault and harassment and the actual rapes that historically were a problem for you. >> yes. >> we've made significant progress in overcoming some of the delays we were experiencing in getting access to records. >> excellent. the committee has done good work. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes mr. connolly for five minutes. >> welcome to our panel. my friend from california was to minimize what just occurred. and i understand that from his point of view. but there's nothing trivial
seven phoneg six or calls to individual inspectors general including yourself, mr. the transition team on the eve of the inauguration all but warning you you are going to be replaced or could be. we saw the redacted document. someld love to have republican support in making sure those reductions are removed and we get the full doctorate. >> the ranking member indicated he would make it available to us. horowitz, ir. assume you saw the gravity of the issue. there was nothing minimal or trivial about these communications to your colleagues. mr. horowitz: absolutely took it very seriously. that is why we worked all weekend on the holiday weekend making calls. >> and i assume the source of your alarm was not just the personal careers of your
colleagues, though that is of concern, but the overall impact of those communications in terms of the potential for politicization of the i.g. office itself. mr. horowitz: it is fair to say that all of us including those who got the calls were concerned not ujust about their own positions but about the institution itself. >> so you asaw a potential threat. mr. horowitz: correct. >> and although the president has the power, because half of your colleagues serve at will in sa sense. and are subject to senate confirmation. i will read to you the author of the inspector general act of 1978, a former colleague, represented l.h. houghton. he said it was never intended, however, that the inspectors general be automatically replaced on a wholesale basis without regard to their individual merits whenever there
is a change in.administration . do notoriginalists, want to pay attention to legislative history, but the rest of us mortals, who write the laws appear, do pay attention to the intent behind legislation and the words accompanying the passage of legislation, especially by the author of the legislation. would you agree with that sentiment? is that your understanding, that it was never intended to have a wholesale replacement, even though the power was there with the president? mr. horowitz: i would and would note the only time that had occurred, which was in 1981, when president reagan removed and un removed to several i.g.'s the committee, or on government operations as it was then called issued a almostus report stating precisely the words you just
quoted. >> thank you. so there is actually history here, going back to 36 years, in terms of trying to make sure we are not politicizing or wholesale removing and replacing inspectors general because of the concern about perception and about independence of office, is that correct? mr. horowitz: that is correct. >> i didn't mean to stop you. whatorowitz: i just note is important to us on this issue is the bipartisan unanimous independence.g. because everybody i think who knows the work we do understand that is the foundation on our work. if we are not independent, we cannot do what we do. >> speaking of which, as the head of siggy, a terrible acronym. i use council of i.g.'s to try to get away from it. only the federal government could come up with something like it.
i got to a siggy meeting. we have a cocktail hour at siggy. mr. horowitz: we do not do that. >> thought i would give you the opportunity to deny that. one of the concerns i have is exactly this -- i.g.'s have to be about partisanship, have to be perceived as independent and objective, cannot be tainted with anything. and when there is a concern, it goes unfortunately from my point of view, there is very little accountability for anyone other than i suppose the agency and the present with respect to i.g. 's. what are we doing to make the process weather is a complaint filed, the process more transparent, more thorough, more robust and people are held accountable? mr. horowitz: on that point, and i know we had discussions in the past. the integrity committee and its operations and working on that. many of the changes that are in the i.g. empowerment act address
these issues and the concerns this committee had. other members had. and we are actually right now in the process of trying to make those changes, and i'll just mention one of the issues that have come up. in order for some of the responsibilities to be transferred from the fbi to the theggy and the i.g. on committee which is now the chair is we need to get certain regulations cleared so that we can create privacy act notices and all the things we have to do. we're trying to understand how the regulatory -- will impact our ability to do that. we are trying to move forward in that regard and look forward to having further discussions with you about these issues. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina for five minutes. >> thank each of you for your work and to the at-large i.g. community. thank you so much for the work that you do.
i can tell you that from my side of the aisle, i'm going to be vigilant in making sure that your work continues on regardless of who is at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. we have your back. we believe in your independence. and anything that is out there to the contrary will be fought vigorously in a bipartisan way. and i know that my good friend from virginia and i both agree on this particular aspect. that being said, i want to make sure that it is clear that to my knowledge we have not -- had no request to replace any i.g. that there is 30 day notice that is to be given to congress, and there are zero i.g.'s that have been noticed to congress. do you understand that? mr. horowitz: i do. and i appreciated the call i got
on friday making that point to me personally. i.g >> at the barest highest levels of this administration, i have highestt the very levels of this administration, i have had a very comforting assurance that the work that the i.g.'s do and have done is not to say that the work you have done, whether it is reports -- i'm one of those guys that will stay up late and read your reports and read the footnotes i have, mr. roth and talked a couple of times on some of the reports that he and his team have done -- and so, let's not discount the work we have done in the past, assuming that the recommendations have been there just because it is a new administration. i think it is important we follow up on those things. so, here would be my request of each one of you. thee look at the i.p., i.g. empowerment act, what i
twod like is what are the things that are creating barriers for its full know wetation, and i are very early in the process, but what are the two there are years you are seeing technically or legislatively or administratively in terms of implementing that? we start to get that, anything that has a good intention also has components that perhaps are a byproduct that were not intended. two areas that perhaps would be in a follow up bill that could maybe either clarify or make life a little easier. are you, all of you willing to get with the committee on that? all right. so, if i were to classify the anxiety level for some in the i.g. community, would you
classify it as on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the most anxious, would you say that it is greater than five? mr. horowitz? mr. horowitz: i think it is fair to say having been the chair of the council for a couple years, i think we are always and just as a group. [laughter] it's a group that has 73 very different opinions on everything. and i think you get 73 people coming up with different numbers. >> all right. what can members of congress to in a bipartisan way to assure the i.g. community that, not only we value their work, but that we certainly do not want anything to stand in the way of your doing your work? mr. horowitz: i think the key part is a hearing like today for us. coming here and hearing bipartisan support for our work. the efforts to reach out to the
incoming administration, including individual agency heads, to make sure they understand. so not just this committee but the other authorizing an oversight committees doing the same with each agency, making them clear. i think you have my assurance and i think all of our assurances by coming here that we stand united in fighting for the underlying principle of independent in this act. ancd we didn't spend years, certainly kathy and i fighting our agencies, the fbi and dea, testifying probably 15 plus times, taking on those agencies because they were not giving us access to sort of hide and not come forward if their efforts to push back. so we'll continue to let you know if we cannot do our work. >> real quickly, yes or no answer, do i have your commitment to keep politics out of any analysis that you or your
group does? i'm going to go down the -- mr. horowitz: absolutely. ms. buller: absolutely. >> yes. >> i yield back. >> thank you. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new jersey. >> thank you, very much and good morning to you. the beginningssed of the testimony but i am delighted to see you here. i want you to know we support the work you need to do, the resources you need to do it any independence you need to do it. i have a couple of questions i would like to actually speak to witz for a moment. on november 4, ranking member comments and house judiciary our ranking member of congress, send you a letter after one of president trump's closest and most vocal campaign advisers rudy giuliani acknowledged leaked information
several days before the fbi director call me now infamous letter to congress about discovering potentially relevant emails. two days before director call me's letter, mr. giuliani's letter stated "we have got a couple of things up our sleeve that should turn this around." he also stated "a pretty big surprise, "was coming in two days, previewing when director comey sent his letter to congress. during a follow-up interview, mr. giuliani confirmed this information and openly break about it. he stated, "did i hear about it? you're darn right i heard about it." speakrstand you cannot to the specifics of your ongoing work, but i want to ask some basis questions about the reviews parameters. a, there is a review taking place. mr. horowitz: that is correct. we announced it on january 12. >> thank you.
confirm this review includes the allegations the department of justice or the fbi personnel provided information directly or indirectly to outside sources? mr. horowitz: our announcement did say that we would look at fbiallegations that an employees and department and poise improperly disclosed nonpublic information. and we will further define the scope of that. as we now go forward and look at the issues >> thank you. now, mr. giuliani has subsequently said he did not get any information directly from active agents, but obviously, as if activematter, agents give information to someone who should not have it and both people transfer, it is just as bad. if you learn the information about the fbi's investigation was a leaked to former fbi agents who finally to other, i assume that you would need to speak with those former fbi agents as well. so, my question to you is, do you have the authority to
interview individuals outside the government if you deem that necessary? and can you assure us that the review of these allegations in particular will be thorough and follow the facts wherever they lead? mr. horowitz: on the latter, i concern the assure you it will be a thorough and. review. on the former, we do not have the authority to compel individuals who are no longer justice department employees to speak with us. we had hoped to have that authority. the i.g. empowerment act the the ranking member, this committee supported, had that authority. it got removed at the last minute, over the objections of the justice department on the senate side. and the final version did not include that. we do hope to get that authority. what a this point we do not have that authority. >> so, then, would you take the information that you have and the need that you would have to interview individuals no longer with government to some other element in the justice
department and ask that that it be pursued there, or is there no other evidence? mr. horowitz: the only avenue for us is to make a voluntary request. if individuals are willing to speak with us, we will have that opportunity. if individuals are unwilling to speak with us, there is no further way for us to compel them to speak with us. if they have the most relevant information possible. >> thank you. shortly after your announcement, director call me stated he was grateful for the review and that the fbi will cooperate fully. you letr horowitz, will this committee know immediately if the fbi's cooperation is anything other than full and complete? mr. horowitz: absolutely. to date, we have gotten very strong cooperation. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> chair thanks the gentlewoman. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. >> i want to thank the panel
and recognize you for your dedication. the dignity and objectivity of your work and hopefully we will continue to be supportive of you. a follow-up on what my colleague was talking about. with regard to your investigative powers, oversight is so important, but holding oversight accountable is also so important that due process is necessary. i think what you're speaking of is a deposition or testimony subpoena powers that you do not have. when you present the case to the say, there is insufficient evidence to go before a grand jury. you feelknow or confident that it may have but you have been shorted your investigative powers. anhout regard to appropriation, what would you consider to be the most important tools you would need to have, subpoena testimony, what things would be necessary to complete your case so due process can ensue?
mr. horowitz: we have authority to subpoena documents. the key is getting the subpoena authority to testify individuals who either are former employees or employees of contractors or grant recipients, because we are pursuing various -- >> and right now you don't. so, they either submit voluntarily to an interview, and once they have counsel, that will never happen, or you just try to build a circumstantial case through voluntary witnesses who are third and fourth degree. mr. horowitz: that is correct. the only other option is if it is strong enough, the justice department decides to open a grand jury, the prosecutor to issue subpoenas. but you need to get to that point. >> let me ask the panel collectively and we go through -- one of the issues i have had a big concern about his official time. time spent by federal workers when they are on the clock but they are doing union activities. i filed a bill for the last
several sessions wanting a report of official time spent by federal workers. is this something that either one of you have done or have made, had a request to do in your duties? i will start with you. mr. horowitz: we have not had a request made of us. >> the only component, i think the only component is the bop has a union but most of the other parts of the justice department do not have. >> is that something you would do if you were requested to? mr. horowitz: what i would like to do is consider the issue, talk with my auditors and try to understand better what it would entail. >> opm has produced it in the past but they do not do it routinely. so that is my issue. ms. buller: w'ee've never done one, nor had a request to do it. >> do you think it is important? to what degree do you have union workers. ms. buller: the peace corps does have a union but i've would have how strongo see what,
the union is and the number of members and whether or not there would be -- >> in some cases, that is their full-time job, to be the union representative and they are being paid on official time to doing that. i just think that is a event that -- um, ought to be monitored and reported to the taxpayers. mr. dahl? >> we have not received a request to look at that, either. >> in order to have you pursue that request, what, who would it have to come from? would it have to come from the administration. would it have to come from this committee? >> there sources. the committee could look -- ask us to look at it. if weomething that determine it is a risk for the department and it is a problem, we would initiate it on our own. >> i appreciate that. thank you. mr. roth. >> same answer. we have not looked at that. we have a number of federal employee unions, and customs and border patrol. the border patrol.
we have not looked at it independently. >> i appreciate that. that is all i have. i yield back. thank you. >> mr. chair? >> chair recognizes the gentlewoman from florida. for five minutes. >> i apologize if we have already covered this since i was late coming into the room. i believe i heard you say we do >> i believe i heard you say you do not -- coulbut could you ask the chairn of this committee to subpoena the retired fbi employee? >> we wouldn't go and do that but by way of example, we were
able in the fast and furious review to interview the former u.s. attorney who had resigned. we came to the committee which had subpoenaed the individual and the committee agreed to share the testimony that it had done in the individual testimony. so that is an avenue that we have used. that normally will not be the case. the chair recognizes the district of columbia ms. norton. that's what appeared to be violations in the act this committee championebut thiscomme whistleblower protection act.
indeed, i note ironically this afternoon we are having a hearing on five years of the whistleblower protection act that was passed unanimously by the committee. yet i know that they've tried to silence the federal government and federal agencies. i know the epa and hhs in particular have received the gag orders that employees cannot communicate with in the public. these orders appear to violate the law.
they look into the nondisclosure policies of the directives issued by your agencies? >> we had some issues with whistleblowers notifying us of potential retaliations as a result of giving us information or getting someone else information. they ultimately settled their case for whatever they get from the agency. it requires been a gag order so we are not able to interview the whistleblowers because again, the retaliation investigations have two purposes. one of course is to make the whistleblower told them to determine that needs to be imposed on whoever it was the death of retaliation. since it is a defect in the system and we will be looking at that and potentially writing a report about that.
>> have the rest of you had any such experience? >> we have the whistleblower provisions and obviously now in light of the recent legislation in the retaliation cases involving the contractors and grant recipients and we are seeing one more of them in handling them as they come in. these are important matters and it's important for new leadership in the agency to understand the scope of the whistleblower protections and it's very important for incoming officials particularly those who haven't been in the government before to understand the impact of the court's decisions. this is a case.
the department of justice didn't appreciate the impact and we had to explain to them why it limited actions they might want to take against individuals that spoke out publicly. we continue to aggressively pursue any allegation. >> or any of these instances that you indicated recent? >> do we continue to get complaints, i wouldn't say anything like you mentioned at this point.
>> they got these specific orders. i am sure that the federal employees are chilled to the bone but look for example in official channel at the state department. they are there for a very long time and some state department officials expressed their dissent on one of the president's executive orders and the public affairs officer to get with the program or they should go. shouldn't employees be concerned about such comment and the potential impact of using the official channels in the high-level state department they were told to shut up or get out
>> it is certainly a concern for me. and i know for the community as a whole to ensure that there is no chilling effect on whistleblowers -- >> how ca--'s >> how can you make sure that the employees know? >> through the programs the congress helped create, it's important to not only train employees in that department but to train those joining on the scope of the whistleblower law and make sure they understand individuals are allowed to come forward when they reasonably believe there are violations in the law and there cannot be a personnel action that is very broadly defined in the law people need to get whistleblower
training upon coming into the agencies and the ig community needs to be working to make sure that occurs. >> it anticipated double last year when the final numbers were in. have you looked at that issue at all? >> we have multiple investigations around the country and we are working with others including the postal service.
do you comment now going from 2 million to 600 million in five years is kind of a dramatic thing. it doesn't increase as much in 2016 as was expected but it was substantial enough that we were working with the department to recommend the programmatic fix fixes. they sent out a medical necessity that requires providers to complete before they can prescribe compounded
medications, and that appears to have had some effect on the cost of the compounded drugs. but this is a big risk that we are concerned about and also the fact that the program didn't see this coming until very recently. there is apparently a tube of cream we are paying $32,000. in the investigations, we found several of these pain creams are used as topical and the costs that we are getting billed for,
tens of thousands of dollars for one prescription and we are finding in many of the investigations that are the patients didn't know that they were receiving this where they didn't ask for it to be refilled. so, we are concerned about that. that's one of the avenues we are pursuing in the investigation. >> are there any kickbacks involved? >> we found them involved in the investigations where the prescribing pharmacies are paying kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies are paying kickbacks to describe these medications. >> any states that are in the parts of the country that share
more sleazy practices going on? >> i don't want to comment on what parts of the country might be sleazy, but we are finding that these were grouped into certain geographic locations. we have investigations around the country many concentrated in texas, california, florida and other states. >> what conditio conditions wouu have prescribed this for? the >> if they get surgery and pain from a back disability commanders also creams prescribed for reducing scar tissue from following up on surgery.
that is for one of the medications that found multiple examples with tens of thousands of dollars. i want to note that there are certain patients and compounding medications that are found to be beneficial and we are concerned about the ones that as you pointed out are not approved by the fda. there is a medical necessity to have those. >> $32,000 for a prescription kind of amazing. >> we could have hearings every day, we could have a whole hearing on that. >> thank you. >> i will now recognize myself
and i would like to get their views on a couple of questions regarding the referral of the criminal matters to the department of justice. over the last four years, what is your estimate of how long it took the doj to generally respond to the referrals ask? >> i don't have the numbers handy or available. i would say we had fairly prompt attention from the department and the prosecutors we worked with regularly when we took up the cases. >> was that your experience? >> we have implicated questions involving jurisdictions. sometimes it takes a while to work through those. >> like mr. horowitz, we get prompt attention from the u.s. . attorneys offices into the
department of justice and the criminal referrals. we made 277 last year and we had 322 convictions last year, so across the country we get great support for our work. >> the doj is highly centralized and i've concur it is good that there are some areas where extra attention needs to be paid. >> do you have referrals left over from the administration?
for the set of laws including the treaty, yes we would be able to do that so we have asked you know done work with the agencies overseas and the department does have the overseas representatives. coming back to you, mr. horowitz, according to the website, there are 11 vacancies that are being bled by the acting ig. you see the benefit for the inspector general in the acting capacity? >> i testified to this before that we have committed and dedicated acting roles. my agency a vacancy before i arrived and did an extraordinary
job of a. there is an ability to get things done that is present when you have confirmed leadership in their positions but also in the agency level position there is an authority that goes with this and a presence and ability to fight for issues that i think is important to have when you are dealing with agency leadership that they know that you have the position full-time and you're not just sitting there waiting for the successor to show up. >> as many of the members have already expressed, we are grateful for the work you do and we respect and appreciate you
and i would like to thank the witnesses for coming today. if there is no further business without objection, the committee stands adjourned. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] our guest iskers,"
ben cardin, a top democrat on the senate foreign relations committee who talks about foreign-policy challenges facing the trump administration and shares his iran fu russia and a recen travel restriction placed on refugees and the citizens of seven predominantly muslim countries. you can watch the interview sunday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. eastern on c-span. te male and i'm prejudiced. the reason it is and is something i was not taught but it is something i learned. i don't like to be forced to like people. i like to be led to like people through example. what can i do to change? to be a better american? >> that was a remarkable moment. i didn't really realize until i stepped off the set, because they were more calls after that. we had to keep rolling. how powerful it was.
there was something in his voice that touched me. you can hear it. it is so authentic as he searches for the words to say something to a national audience that most of us will not admit in our homes. i'm prejudiced. >> sunday night on q&a, heather mcghee, president of the public policy organization was a guest on c-span's washington journal in august 2016 when gary called. she talked about the interaction and her follow-up with him. >> part of the reason for that is that this is august. we had this racially charged summer with donald trump's campaign, with black lives matter. police shootings and then the tragic events all in baton rough e and dallas. it was really a time when people felt like all they were seeing on tv about face was bad news, and here was first, wa white man admitting he was prejudice,
which were people of color we kind of said, finally. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> in his weekly address, the president discusses his legislative agenda, including his supreme court nomination, job growth and executive action on terrorism. senator edward markey of massachusetts delivers the democratic response, giving his reaction to the nomination of judge neil gorsuch to the supreme court. president trump: my fellow americans, this week i nominated neil gorsuch for the united states supreme court. i one ofs the most qualified people ever to be nominated. he is a graduate of columbia, hartford and aroxford. he has an impeccable resume. he is widely respected by everyone, and judge gors